tv Piers Morgan Tonight CNN August 6, 2012 9:00pm-10:00pm PDT
tonight, faith under fire. america's latest shooting spree. >> an action to take like this has to be some form of hate. >> what do we know about page? my exclusive with a man who served with him in the military. plus, deepak chopra who says there is no place for guns in a civilized society. america's reigning queen of the pool, missy franklin.
and my prime-time exclusive with super star serena williams. her medals -- >> i love gold, it's my favorite color. >> and the olympian who inspired her. >> what an honor to be at the same olympic games as this guy. >> plus the the two women behind gymnastics champ gabby douglas. >> she said, either i can find a new coach or i want to give up doing the sport. this is "piers morgan tonight." good evening from london. we'll get to my interviews with olympians missy franklin and serena williams later in the show. we begin tonight with our big story. the deadly rampage at a sikh temple. law enforcement officers say wade michael page, an army veteran, was a lone gunman in the rampage. neighbors say page played in a far right punk band and an old army buddy of page's talked about what he called racial holy war. i'll talk to him exclusively in a few minutes. joining me now is our first
guest. he went to the temple every day. he was on his way there when the shootings took place on sunday. you knew a number of the people who lost their lives. tell me about them. >> yeah, one of my favorite guys in the temple. he was in his late 30s. and i need to tell you, he just brought his family back from india. he spent a lot of time here. for four or five years, he was all alone. and it was just two months he brought his family back. >> it's an atrocity beyond comprehension. when you first realized what had happened, and you discovered it was a man believed to be a white supremacist, what was your reaction to that? have the sikh community been fearing an attack of this nature? have you felt like you've been vulnerable? >> yeah, i think my first reaction was to be honest with
you, i could guess it was a case of mistaken identity. but later on what i felt was, you know, maybe we as a community has not been able to, you know, explain to people what we are. had that guy had just an iota of thought about sikh religion or little speck of what sikh beliefs are, i think he would not have even thought of harming us, you know, because we believe in universal brotherhood. we don't believe in -- we don't have any conflict against any nation. we don't have any conflict against any work. i think we as sikhs probably our leadership might have failed somewhere with the public relations. we have not been able to explain what we are. what we do for the humanity. had that guy knew that, i think he would not have gone to that extent. at least coming to the sikh temple. and hitting us with what he thought was appropriate. but, again, i'm so saddened we
have been targeted because of our looks and vulnerabilities. because we have long beards. but i think so we as a community has to have i think at some point in time not being able to explain what we are. >> dr. siti, i want to read you a statement. it was one of their reporters received a text message from the shooter's family. i want to read you this and get your reaction. it says, as a family of wade page, we are devastated by the horrific events that occurred sunday in oak creek, wisconsin. while there can be nord woulds of comfort that will make sense of what happened that day, please be aware that our thoughts and prayers go out to all the victims and their families. we share in their grief all who lost their lives and for those survivors. we have been cooperating and will continue to cooperate with the investigation in any way we can. please respect our privacy as we
try and deal with the tragic loss of life and family. what is your reaction to that statement from the family of the man that committed this terrible atrocity? >> as a sikh, as a member of the big sikh community, the world, i strongly believed a life lost is a life lost. even i feel so saddened about the life lost by the guy who assaulted and came and killed other people. still it is hard for the family. my heart goes out to the family too. i think they're also one of the victims, you know. we -- because we prayed -- all the time we pray in our prayers that we always call for well being of the whole humanity. my heart goes out. i really appreciate that the family feels so, you know, concerned and they feel they have some kind of remorse or whatever on his behalf.
i think it is a great act, it is great act of courage to admit and be part of the whole scenario rather than being the family of the victim or the family of the assault. a man who has died has died. that's a lot of life. whether it was a sikh or whether it was a -- we, our culture, our history, we have treated both our friends and foes as one. i think we sikh have treated prisoners of war and guys endured in the wars with us, we treat the same way as we treat our own people. i appreciate the fact that those guys also realize, you know, and have been talking good about and praying for all the lives lost. >> dr. sehti, again, my condolences to you and to your fellow sikhs, the community there. i appreciate you taking the time to join me. >> thank you.
now, mark potok, senior fellow at the southern poverty law center. membership in two racist skin headbands. mr. potok joins me now. what have you learned about this man in the years you've been tracking him? >> well, basically, he is a guy who describes leaving his home state of colorado with all his belongings packed on to a motorcycle in the year 2000. and at that point, he goes directly into the white power music scene out there. he starts to play with racist rock and roll bands around the country. he played with several very well-known bands. bands like intimidation one and blue eyed devils as a lead guitarist and vocalist. ultimately in 2005 page started his own band which he called, i think significantly, end apathy.
he gave an interview several years ago to a particular white supremacist website in which he talked about the name of the band. and basically explained it as a message to his colleagues, his fellows in the white supremacist world, essentially saying "we've got to act now." he really didn't go into any detail. he didn't talk specifically about violence or hating muslims or sikhs or anything like that but it seemed very clear he was itching for action. >> do you believe this kind of extremism, white supremacist, also other forms of extremism, is that on the increase in america, do you believe? >> oh, i think there's no question about it at all. one of the things we do at the southern poverty law center is count the number of groups on the extreme right. and we've had just explosive growth. in particular, militia-type groups. groups we used to call militias in the 1990s. this expansion this amazing expansion, came immediately
after the election of barack obama. so i think what is really going on out there is there are an awful lot of people in this country who have heard about the loss of white majority. the census bureau have said whites will lose their majority in this country by the year 2050. and who feel incredibly enough that white people in america are being subjected to a genocide. you know so that is essentially where they're coming from. you know, and that has driven many of these groups out of their minds. >> finally, doou believe this shooter knew that these were sikhs or did he believe they may be muslims? did he care? was it a fact they were just nonwhites? what do you imagine may have been given what you know about his background, his motivation? >> my best guess is he's a fool. he mistook sikhs for muslims and thought he was murdering muslims. when you look into the propaganda of the white
supremacist world, as we do every day, you virtually never see writings or rantings about the evils of sikh people. of course the radical right is absolutely thick with propaganda about muslims and posting sharia law in this country. muslim brotherhood infiltrating our government. on and on. i feel pretty certain this man mistook sikhs for muslims. it's certainly true these kind of white supremacists view all people of color, as they would say, mud people, as enemies. >> fascinating conversation. thank you. joining me now exclusively is a man who served with page in the military. thank you for joining me. what is your recollection of the kind of man page was? >> bright, intelligent, very kind individual it i had him over to my house with my family
to eat dinner several times. we ate dinner with him several times. we're all part of a really close-knit group of friends. >> right. you served with him between 1995 and 1998. in the alpha company of the 9th cyclops battalion. you knew him for five years, until 2000, when you lost contact. most intriguingly. i understand he used to talk openly to you about a racial holy war. tell me about that. >> yes, sir. to a lot of the people in our group of friends. he would often mention the racial holy war that was coming. you know, we just looked at it as he was trying to get attention to himself. because he was always the loner type of person.
even in a group of people, he would be off alone. >> right, but do you believe he was serious in his belief, there needed to be some kind of holy war against, you know, presumably muslims? is that what he was targeting? sikhs? i mean, who were the targets of this holy war as far as he was concerned? >> back then, as far as he was concerned, it was just anybody that wasn't ite. i really didn't become concerned till his 2000 motorcycle trip. he told me that he was going across country to visit old friends, you know, that he had lost touch with, and i happened to be one of those. i was living in arkansas at the time. and he stopped to visit me for about a week. i noticed then he had gone through a dramatic change. and did -- his talk about the
racist war was even -- you know, it was more like he really did believe it. and after he left, that was the last time i talked to him. i can't say i wouldn't have seen this coming because honestly a couple weeks ago, i was thinking of him. just to see how he's been doing over the the years it and when i couldn't find any contact information, i did start looking for news articles, you know, that something like this might have happened somewhere, and i had missed, you know, didn't hear about it. >> you as i say served in the military with him. he was thrown out of the military for misconduct. do you know what the detail, of that misconduct were? >> basically, had gotten drunk the night before and
showed up at morning formation intoxicated, and that just started the ball rolling to get him moved out of the military. >> do you think he -- from what you know of him or knew of him, do you think he would have known the difference between a muslim and a sikh? would we have try to distinguish between the two groups? >> honestly, i don't think he would have tried to distinguish. like i said, the last time i talked to him, it was all just -- it was anybody that wasn't white. >> and the last time, as you said, you saw him and you were more concerned about the escalate and the way he was talking, did you come away from that encounter thinking that he was now dangerous and that this was not just talk? >> no, i knew that it wasn't just talk, that he had fallen deeper into whatever group he had gotten himself mixed up
with. because he didn't have the tattoos when he was in the army. but after denver, he had traveled from denver to arkansas to visit me on his motorcycle. and i think this is the same trip that the guy from the southern poverty group was talking about. and then when he showed up, he had all the tattoos. he had talked about he was in a racist band. d that he was going to meet up with them in florida to do some big racist concert. and so i knew he was into the music part. but i -- even after he left, i didn't think he would be violent. >> well, it sadly didn't turn out that way. thank you for joining me. i appreciate it. when we come back, a man who says guns do not belong in a civil society. deepak chopra.
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what i want to do is to bring together law enforcement, community leaders, faith leaders, elected officials at every level, to see how we can make continued progress. >> that's president obama earlier today. deepak chop pra. he comes from a sikh family. says he's grieving with everyone else affected by the shooting. and says guns do not belong in a civil society. his book offers spiritual joins me now. a harrowing story this, coming so soon after the aurora massacre. you've attracted a lot of flack i've seen from people who feel passionately that right to bear arms means you cannot even debate this. what is the practical thing that can be done now? >> piers, what is really interesting is my comment that guns don't belong in the civil society generated so much hostility, anger, rage, ethno
centratism, bigotry and racism. these people are the very people who should not be owning guns. the fact they can get enraged at a comment like that is a sign that something very drastically wrong with our culture, which is going through a major shift right now, with new immigrants coming from all over the world. a global identity for our next generation. you know, i have a grandson who speaks five languages because his mother is chinese and his father is indian and his nanny's spanish. this is very threatening to a society which was born in the throes of violence. the second amendment is actually goes back to when militia were relevant for a free state. and therefore the right to bear arms. it has no relevance right now. gun control is a very necessary thing. >> my whole argument about this, ever since the aurora massacre, since gabby giffords was shot as
well, is not that you can guarantee you can stop massacres. we saw one in norway. we've had them in britain. seen very many in germany, australia. there are so few gun murders outside of those massacres. what distinguishes america and, versely, is there so many gun murders as a matter of routine every day, every month, every year? >> exactly. and for every 100 people in the united states, we have 88 guns. the next closest country is yemen, with 55 guns per 100 people. you should ask, why do we need so many guns? why can we get assault weapons without having to have a license? why do we need assault weapons that can fire 100 rounds at a time for hunting or self-protection? when is the last time a gun was used for defense? how many incidents are there where gun assailants have been
thwarted by a gun for self-defense? so we have to question who we are at this moment. and our political system has to be a little more honest. i heard the comments of president obama. i think president obama offers hope, stability, trust and compassion. but he needs to take a stand on gun control. you know, it's very important right now to be more in the interest of our collective safety and our collective caring for each other and politics needs to come second to that. >> there just has to be something in our system in america which means if you're a skin head white supremacist thrown out of the military for misconduct and you are in a band which advocates violence and racial hatred and all the rest of it, there's got to be something that flags you up when you go and buy a gun legally. my previous guest believes it
was probably just as mindless as he assumes they were muslims, this shooter. do you believe that or do you believe as the sikh community fears, it was deliberately targeted at the sikh community? >> he probably assumed that anyone with a beard or a turbin is probably from the taliban. that's also part of the ignorance of a very ethnocentric culture that is totally unaware of what's happening in the rest of the world. so i think people get stereotyped very easily. in this case, it was the beard and the turbinturbins of the sikhs who were probably not targeted especially. my family comes from a sikh family. none of us believes they were targeted because they were sikhs. it was confusion i think. >> well, it's an appalling day for the sikh community, for all of those who know relatives that were involved. deepak, i thank you for joining me, i really do. thank you. >> thanks, piers. coming next, i'll talk to an olympic athlete.
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17-year-old swimming sensation missy franklin won four gold medals and a bronze here in london. she proved that when she dedicated all of her races to the people of the home state of colorado in the wake of shooting last month. we're going to get to your amazing successes in london. i want to start. we've just been talking about this new shooting in america. you come effectively from aurora. you were brought up very near there. you trained there and everything else. what was your reaction when that happened? >> just complete shock. you hear something like that and it just baffles you on why something like that happehappens. it was so senseless. i was in france at the time. the time zone, i was a few hours ahead so a lot of my friends and family were still sleeping. just having those hours of waiting to hear if everyone was okay was just absolutely awful.
>> you said that you were going to put your focus on the olympics and hopefully do my best, to shine some light on colorado and make them proud. i think you've definitely done that. >> thank you. >> you must feel great you were able to do so well. >> thank you. i've gotten the most supportive messages and tweets. just saying i've been able to do that. that means more than i can say. >> four golds and a bronze. >> i know, it honestly doesn't even feel real. >> what are you, 17? >> yes. >> you've won five medals including four golds at one olympics. certainly feels surreal, doesn't it? >> without a doubt. i'm on cloud like 687. like i don't even know what to think right now. just trying to fathom everything. it's weird because when when win a medal, you actually get to hold your dream in your hands. it's so unbelievable. >> i had ryan lochte here on friday. the most eligible bachelor in the world. >> of course.
>> if you ask him. michael phelps i've interviewed too. they're great guys. they've been setting the whole competition alight on the men's side. do you hang out together? >> absolutely. our team this year was incredible. i have never been a part of a closer team. we're honestly like a family. even though michael and ryan had the big rivalry, when they're outside of the pool, they're just joking and messing around. >> if you could take one woman to a desert island for the rest of his life, who would it be, and he said blake lively. my question, with one of two men, ryan lochte or michael phelps for the rest of your life, who would it be? >> oh, my gosh. i have to pick -- oh. >> or, let's widen it. i think i know where you may go now. if i threw justin bieber into the mix. >> i knew that was coming. you know, justin's a little more age appropriate. so i would probably go with justin. >> you've got some big choices to make now about your life and
career. you're going to stay amateur for now. >> yes. >> which is i guess surprising. you're turning down potentially a lot of money. why have you done that? >> because i am all about the team. i love being a part of something that i believe is bigger than myself. and being on this team and being on my high school team have showed me how much it means to be not only swimming for yourself but have so much support around you. watching college competitions and seeing college swim mates, i can see that being multiplied in college. >> now you're off to college. where are you going? >> i have no idea yet. i'm starting to take my recruiting visits this fall. >> harvard? >> probably not. i am looking more at cal, georgia, usc and maybe texas. those are my kind of short list. >> tell me this, because i've never going to be in that position. that moment when you won the first gold here, you come out of the water and you know you've won.
>> it's impossible to describe. it's absolutely incredible. just knowing everything you've done has been worth it. every early morning wake-up call. jumping in the water at 5:00 a.m. just every experience you've ever gone through just kind of led up to that moment. it was just unbelievable. i saw a video of my parents and they were hugging, crying. i didn't really just do it for me but i did it for them too and everything they've helped me do. >> the whole of america is absolutely buzzing with pride for you. >> thank you so much. >> the whole world has gone missy crazy. >> thank you. >> so congratulations. >> thank you so much. >> it's been a pleasure to meet you. >> it's been a pleasure to meet you also. >> now, to the other big news in london. the world's fastest man usain bolt winning the olympic 100 meters for the second time. marian jones knows a bit about that race. she won the women's 100 meter, at sydney in 2000, then fell from grace after she admitted using performance enhancing drugs.
marion, what a race, what a run from usain bolt. >> absolutely. i predicted it right, didn't i, piers? it was just -- it was incredible to watch. i think it was a bit surprising that it was as close as it was. which i think made it even more exciting. but it's pretty phenomenal. only the second man in the history of the olympics to double and it was just a wonderful race. but great for the americans and justin gatlin who i'm personally pulling for obviously had some challenges in the past few years, but, you know, has benefited from his second chance and made the most of it. but this just tells you that today's semifinal runs of the 200 meters and of course tomorrow in the finals of the 200 meters are going to be even more spectacular. >> well what is it about usain bolt, to you think, that makes him so extraordinarily? apparently he even had a mcdonald's before running in the final last night.
>> i think so many people are fascinated by this guy it beyond the fact that he's just lightning quick. no pun intended with the lightning bolt joke. but just the fact there's so much more that he brings. so much more that he brings to the sport, right. he brings that bravado. he brings that swag. that people like to see. it's not just like this boring, you know, one dimensional-type athlete. you know he's going to give you a smile. he's going to give you a blink of the eye. something to, like, get your energy going prior to the race. i think that's why people are really attracted to this guy. >> yeah, i've got to say, i find bolt a compelling character, i love the way he runs on the track and behaves off it. he's exactly what the sport needs. talking to you, people will watch usain bolt. i remember when ben johnson won the 100 meters. there's a surge of excitement when you see these amazing performers. there's always that element of doubt.
bolt himself has said, if he's not clean, it will kill athletics, kill sprinting. i think he's probably right. do you think the achievements of the jamaican team should be viewed without any suspicion? >> i certainly don't think so. i think we spoke a few days ago about the young chinese swimmer. and so much being said about her performance. i think it's so unfair. there's never been any test to show that there's anything suspicious in any of the jamaicans running or any of that. let them shane if they're running fast and they're doing it clean, give them all the props they deserve. now, whatever point in the future something comes out, the world will deal with it accordingly, i agree that would be a huge blow for the sport of track and field. we're not even at that point. there's been no suspicion. they're going to always be in the history of the sport, people who whisper or go on blogs or do
these certain things. there's nothing to say that he's doing anything that he shouldn't. >> totally. and i take him at his word. any man that can win the 100 meters at the olympics twice running is my kind of hero. if you're watching, we love you. marian, thank you for joining me. when we come back, my exclusive with golden girl serena williams.
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i've never won the singles olympic gold medal. very two gold medals in doubles. we'll see what happens. hopefully i won't get nervous this time. >> that was serena williams in may. she's been on a tear ever since. weeks after winning wimbledon. she added a women's title with sister venus on sunday. congratulations.
the last time i saw you were hoping to win a gold. >> yeah. >> i watched you in the final. you really wanted to win that. anyone who tries to doubt that you pro tennis players take this seriously -- >> i wanted it more than anything. i wanted to be out there, when i walked out there, i thought, i love gold is my favorite color. i don't want silver, i want gold. this is what i want. this is what i want to do, i'm never going to have a better opportunity much i play amazing on this surface, this surface was made for me. let's do it. >> the more she grunted the more powerful your shots were? >> yeah. i haven't seen the match yet. i'm going to watch it and learn from it. i haven't had a chance to see anything, it's been so much.
>> you started to do this crazy dance, which i -- >> i was so happy. >> i went on twitter and dubbed it the serea shuffle. but then i was told it was a gangster walk. >> gangster? no, i just love it. i love to dance. i was so happy. i didn't know what to do, there was no trophy so i couldn't jump and hold it at the same time. i didn't mean -- the next thing i knew i started dancing. to win that gold medal in singles and have that moment and know that, okay, yes, i'm contributing to the u.s. getting gold medals, felt really good. >> the thing you haven't gotten around to yet is thanking me for the game we played in may. >> you helped me get tough mentally -- >> by giving you such a terrible beat something. >> allegedly, yes.
>> what was great, i've seen you a few times in the last 18 months. one time we met in l.a., you were in the doldrums, you had these terrible afflictions hitting you left, right and center. it must feel satisfying to you now after all that, after all you went through, maybe even playing again at the highest level. here you are, wimbledon, gold medal at the olympics. >> there were times i didn't know if i would play tennis again, it wouldn't looking good. one day i woke up and i was like, i think i can practice today and see how it goes. that's how you start. mostly for me, it was about never giving up, and always being positive. >> who has excited you most watching the other sports? >> i can't sit here and not say michael phelps. i'm really good friends with ryan lochte. i always text him and tell him he's doing good much. >> really?
>> yes. >> he's single. >> we're really good friends. >> i don't date. i'm just into tennis. i'm good at tennis. i'm not good at the other stuff, i'm really really good at tennis. >> usain bolt. >> i was going to get to him too. i saw him running, he just took off. i loved watching gabby douglas doing her thing in the gymnastics. it's exciting. it's wonderful to see. my favorite was a south african athlete that didn't have -- i was so inspired by that. i thought, had a little ache and pain here and there. who am i to complain. we have someone like this, who's not making any excuses, but is here to be an olympian. what an honor to be at the same olympic games as this guy. those are the moments you live for. for me to be here, and be a part of those moments, it makes my olympics completely memorable.
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gabby douglas is basking in the glow of becoming the first woman to win the gold medal in the women's all around welcome. you have been to gabby both in your own way moms. you have this brilliantly talented young girl from the age of three doing perfect cartwheels. you know that she needs to move away from the family home. a tough decision for you. take me back to that decision? >> about 2008, she was about 11, she started saying, mom, i think that i can do this. we watched the 2008 olympics and
sean johnson was trying to go for gold in beijing. she said, i'm doing the skills that they're doing, mom. i need a new coach. i can do this, i know i can, but i need her coach. and when your child is 11, you think, they don't know what they're talking about. wishful thinking. for two more years she continued to pressure me about it and say mom i think i have a great shot, but i need a coach that can take me to that level. in 2010 she came to me and said, either i can find a new coach or i want to give up doing this sport. >> or she's finding a new mother? >> or that too. >> which brings me to you. at this point she has to leave the family home, and she comes to this new coach, travels a world away. and finds herself with you. you're going to be her surrogate mom for two years.
when she first arrived, what was your first impression? >> she glows when she smiles and she's a doll to be around. it didn't take long for us to completely fall in love with her. and the hardest part was probably getting her to feel comfortable with being incorporated into our family. i felt that no matter what, everything we did, she was going to join us. and she just fairly instantly became one of my daughters. >> what was the moment like when she won gold? >> for me, total elation. because i knew what had gone into making that dream come true. and i just -- in that instant, you know -- i saw a flash before me, all of the sacrifice, all of the hard work, all of the dedication and the perseverance just paid off in that moment. and i just -- i lost it, i couldn't stop crying. it also felt like a release. i felt like i had been holding so much weight on my shoulders.
and when i saw, oh, my god. she accomplished her dream, she did it, it was just a phenomenal moment. >> missy, for you? >> just so proud of her, to again make all the sacrifices that she made at such a young age, and then go out and live her dream and at the same time representing her country, and she was beaming and it was just so much fun to watch that. and just so proud of her. >> what about the big scandal, though, her hair? >> i loved her hair. >> i did too. >> what was wrong with her. >> i was like, what are they talking about? i thought it looked great. she's doing it herself. >> i think it's cute. >> it's not like she can wear it down and flowing. >> that was ridiculous, didn't you think? >> yes. >> president obama called her. oprah win friday has tweeted her. could you imagine in your
wildest dreams this would happen to your little girl? >> no. i just thought she would go to training, achieve her dream, be on the olympic podium she'd step down and we'd go out to our favorite restaurant and celebrate. >> she's going to be the face o kellogg's kourn flake. >> yes. >> huge money pouring in? >> yes. >> how are you going to keep a lid on it? >> right now, we're taking our time to see which brands most -- are compatible with what she wants to personify. and i don't think there's a huge rush. so we're just taking our time right now. >> good for you. and congratulations to both of you. not many olympic gold medal winners have two moms to cheer them on. it's a great story. wonderful the dedication you showed us. thank you for joining me. >> thank you for having us. when we come back, what usain bolt has in common with a
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world accomplishments. the first is nasa's mars rover, curiosity. which successfully carried out a highly challenging landing on the red planet this morning. its mission is to boldly go where no man has gone before. listen to jim garvin of nasa's space flight center. >> curiosity is getting ready to do her job, which is going to be a two-year marathon exploring mars. now, it's the slow warming up wakeup. it's kind of like an olympic athlete warming up before that race, that tumbling routine. for all of us, we just got the gold medal in the olympics getting there, now it's all the gravy of doing the science that guys like me can't wait to do. >> quite astonishing, while the rover is searching for signs of life on mars. i found my own curiosity right here on planet earth. something that can move faster than almost any other creature in the history of our gr